Families ask questions after care home’s closure

FAMILIES have been asked for their views about the controversial closure of a Dewsbury care home.

Kirklees Council acted after complaints from those who believe closing Oxford Grange on Oxford Road was premature.

The care home was shut on May 29 in response to provisional inspection findings.

Stephen Walker, whose 95-year-old mother Joan was moved at short notice, is among those outraged.

He had no previous concerns about her care and also accused Kirklees of poor communication.

Mr Walker said: “You do have to wonder if this was an unnecessary action by Kirklees Council.

“I phoned them today (Tue) and asked for the concerns of residents and relatives to be included in any review.”

Council chiefs insisted taking feedback is not a review, but could lead to one depending on the findings.

A spokeswoman said: “The movement of vulnerable people from Oxford Grange was a major undertaking.

“We consider the process was managed well in difficult circumstances, but we do recognise it was an unwelcome experience for residents, their families and for staff.

“We will be taking into account all feedback in order to understand what worked well, and whether anything would be done differently the next time the council or other agencies are faced with a similar situation.

“This is a standard way to improve quality and is what the public would expect us to do.

“Once we have followed our usual feedback and learning processes we will then make a decision about whether there will be a formal review process.”

Mr Walker, of Howden Clough, said a sudden move has set back his mother’s progress.

He explained that Joan left Oxford Grange for the nearby Ashworth Grange care home on May 28 and has retreated back into her shell.

She needed care after a fall at her flat on Staincliffe Road in Dewsbury Moor two years ago.

Initially the former shop worker, 96 next month, wanted to stay in bed all day and did not want to eat food.

But staff at Oxford Grange coaxed her out and Mr Walker said she was doing well.

He said: “The emotional impact has been unsettling. She’s gone back to how she was before.

“She doesn’t want to eat and wants to stay in bed all the time. What she needed was continuity of care.”

Mr Walker added: “The staff were really good with my mum. She was clean, happy and they’d brought her out of her shell.”

No concerns were raised by a Kirklees social worker about Joan’s care following a visit last month.

Only a week later he received a letter dated May 15 from owners Northfield Care Homes Ltd about a poor Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection.

Kirklees Council sent a letter dated May 19 and two days later there was a meeting with families.

Mr Walker insists at no stage was closure ever mentioned and he went away for the weekend unaware of what was about to happen.

He was shocked when he came back on Sunday May 24 to phone messages about Oxford Grange being closed.

The council spokesman added: “We fully understand that this is a difficult time for the families involved.

“The wellbeing of residents is always our highest priority and we worked closely with families to identify alternative placements as quickly as possible.

“Although Oxford Grange is not owned by the council, we worked with the CQC while they considered all aspects of the care provided.

“We also completed individual reviews of all residents’ care and support before an alternative, appropriate care home place was found.

“We are continuing to make every effort in keeping families as up to date as possible.

“In the days before it became necessary for residents to leave Oxford Grange, families received a wide range of regular communication via letters, meetings and phone calls.”

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